Chuck Hartlieb: It is for a few reasons. One, growing up, for some reason my family and me always enjoyed Ohio State. That was the school I thought I was going to go to, and I wanted to play there. But when they didn't offer me my senior year, my second choice was Iowa. So following them closely in the 70's and 80's and be able to go in there in a87 and get a win out of there, it brings back a great week of memories and a great time on a Saturday way back in 1987.
Q: How many requests from the media do you get during Ohio State week?
Hartlieb: People bring it up right and left still. I guess I have to thank Jim Zabel for that s well. He has had a lot of fun with it. I have always appreciated his remembering it so well. It's always funny to me, because it makes me feel like I am from the 50's, because people always say I can remember, I was out in the barn or out driving in the park, because it was not on live TV and everyone can tell me where they were when they heard it on the radio that particular moment when we scored that touchdown. When we get the Big Ten Network going, people might be able to see it themselves then.
Q: Let's talk a bit about the Illinois game last week. In my opinion, its seemed like Iowa thought they could go there and not have to do a whole lot with their imagination in the form of offensive formations; there was a big difference between what we saw against Iowa State and Illinois in that regard.
Hartlieb: It's the classic squeeze game as you know. It was great to get a win over Iowa State, but more emphasis was put on that. You go to Illinois, there is not near the aura of Kinnick, you have Ohio State on the horizon and you have a team that doesn't look good on film. It's tough to get up for it, and then to really get significantly prepared is hard, because as you said, we have to be thinking about what is the best way to prepare for OSU and not for Illinois. I think it showed last week.
I was a little disappointed in the mental aspect, that they could not keep some drives going. I would have hoped by this time that some of those little things would have been ironed out, and that is crucial. The lack of big plays and the lack of a blowout didn't concern me too much when you think about the injuries. I think it's OK.
Q: Let's look ahead to Ohio State. I know you have been thinking about this one for a while now.
Hartlieb: I took some time the last few days and wrote down seven key factors that Iowa has to focus on for Saturday night to win. Defensively, #1, turnover margin must be +2. It was very positive in Champaign to see the defense starting to create turnovers. We need to have two or three of those from the defense, and even though Drew will put the ball in the air more than 30 times, which is my prediction, if he can keep it to one turnover or less, we have an excellent chance to win the game. #2, we have to stay away from the big plays. I have to think that Coach Parker is saying no touchdowns greater than 40 yards. We have to make Ohio State put 8 to 10 play drives together. That is a key this weekend. I am not so concerned about the cornerbacks, but the overall pass defense, everyone getting involved and being fundamentally sound. No touchdowns over 40 yards. #3, and it might be the biggest; Troy Smith has to run for less than 70 yards. My concern is not necessarily the speed of the wide receivers, but the speed of the quarterback. We need to find a way to contain Troy Smith on those second and third and long situations. If we can beat them up early and keep him from scrambling for less than five yards, we will be in this game.
Offensively, #1, I predict we will see Air Tate more than you have seen before, with hope that our goal to win the game, we would need to have a 300-yard passing game out of Drew. It's not something that is typical of this offense, but I think the groundwork has been laid in the non-conference to have that kind of performance Saturday night. With the injuries and running game where it is, Drew will have to throw for more than 300 yards. #2, we need to have two or three maximum offensive penalties. One of the things that hurts us the most, is that illegal procedure call or the offensive holding call on the 5th or 7th play of a long drive, and all of the sudden its second and 20 and we can't get out of it. The offensive line, and all 11 players need to keep offensive penalties to a minimum. #3, we have to have 100% conversion rate inside the 20, either touchdowns or field goals, we have to score every single time. If you remember over the last four or five years, that has not been a slam dunk, though we improved last year. We have to come away with points 100% of the time. On the special teams side, one, I am very concerned about a blocked punt. You need to be prepared for that. Secondly, Kyle Schlicher has to have a perfect day for us to win, three for three or four for four, if we are to have a chance.
Q: You have played in some big games, maybe not the magnitude of this week at Kinnick, but some big games nonetheless. What is it like during the week, leading up to the game, walking around campus, the students slapping you on the back, etc.
Hartlieb: I think the #1 thing is a lack of sleep. I believe that those players go to bed with their heart rate on a weekday night, going 20 percent faster. You need to sit down and relax, but you can't. You can't wait for the game to get there. The coaches are keying this, to calm their players down and get them to focus on the little things. The adrenaline is flowing already, because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. They know it, the fans know it, and the students know it. It probably won't come again at Kinnick for these players. It's important to keep and even keel mind about things.
That being said, I think a Drew Tate and these seniors want to enjoy the moment. I can remember myself, and quite a few of us, its fun to be here. Isn't this a special time, and lets remember it for what it is and that is all the hard work and effort they put in to get here. During the week and during the game, you want to take it all in. It goes by quickly. It's a memory for the rest of your life. One thing you want to be calm and cool, but you also have to cherish it. I will take a step back, and say this is good stuff; this is why I have worked so hard during my career.
Q: Any final thoughts before we end the interview for this week?
Hartlieb: I have two other thoughts. I want to share with the great Hawkeye fans to cherish the day. Enjoy the moment regardless if you are at the stadium or at home. There are not many opportunities for this kind of day in Iowa City, and the reason is that we are in the heartland, we are not near the east coast, and we don't have 40 years of unreal tradition. Regardless of the outcome, I hope that we walk away from the TV or the stadium and say, hey, thanks to Mr. Bowlsby, huge thanks to Coach Ferentz and everyone involved for creating a great opportunity. That is how I look at it. It's great to be here, regardless of the outcome.
Then, I am so excited to get in there on Saturday and take it all in, but I would love it if there are fans out there, we need to get these guys through it in the second and third quarter. I think Kinnick Rocks in the first and fourth quarter, but hopefully the fans come to play the game for all four quarters, too. That means the second, halftime and third quarter, we need to put as much pressure on Ohio State as the 12th man and keep our guys in it for four quarters as well. Fans underestimate how much of a role they can play in a game like this and they will come ready to go.